Sep 27, 2011
[Sept. 26, 2011] CHICAGO – Lacey Henderson, a cancer survivor and recent graduate of the University of Denver who is vying for a spot on the 2012 U.S. Paralympic team, and Kevin Pearce, a professional snowboarder who suffered a traumatic brain injury weeks before the 2010 Winter Olympics, are nominated for the America’s Choice Honor for Courage in Sports, Intersport announced today. The America’s Choice Honor, wholly determined by fan voting, recognizes individuals that have overcome monumental challenges to achieve greatness in the world of sports. The winner will be announced on a one-hour “Courage in Sports” special airing at 5 p.m. ET Nov. 13 on CBS.
Two inspirational sports stories are featured on the Courage in Sports Facebook page (www.facebook.com/CourageInSports) each week through Oct. 2. The six top weekly vote-getters will proceed to the finals, which run Oct. 3-16.
As a fourth-grader, Henderson was struck with grave news when doctors detected a tumor in her right knee and diagnosed it as soft-tissue synovial sarcoma, a rare type of cancer with a low survival rate. After becoming violently ill from chemotherapy treatments, doctors concluded that amputating Henderson’s right leg was her best chance for survival.
Since the amputation in 1999, Henderson has shown incredible resilience, determination and a passion for life. Henderson was a member of the cheerleading squad at both Regis Jesuit High School and at the University of Denver and has pursued an active lifestyle, enjoying skiing, snowboarding and gymnastics. Now cancer-free for more than 12 years, Henderson took up track and field last year and is working towards securing a spot on the 2012 U.S. Paralympic Team in the 100-meter competition.
While preparing for Olympic qualifying events in December of 2009, Pearce was knocked unconscious during a halfpipe run when he caught his toe-side edge while landing a double cork – a twisting double back flip maneuver he’s landed many times before. The then 22-year-old sustained a severe brain injury and spent four months in and out of hospitals and rehabilitation centers.
While Pearce still suffers from blurry vision and trouble balancing, he continues to amaze doctors with his hard work and possesses a fierce desire to return to the sport he loves. He recently started surfing, while continuing to receive occupational, speech and physical therapy. Pearce recently received the National Rehabilitation Hospital’s Victory Award and is delivering inspiration and hope through his public speaking.
Current finalists include Eric LeGrand of Rutgers; Arthur Ray Jr. of Michigan State; Andrew, Colter, Paul and Willy Phillips; the 2010-11 Fennville (Mich.) High School Basketball Team; and Chris Norton of Luther College.
For more about Henderson or Pearce or to support either nominee, visit www.Facebook.com/CourageInSports. Fans can vote as often as they would like and can share their vote with Facebook friends. Week six voting opened today and ends on Sunday, Oct. 2, at 11:59 p.m. ET.
Past Courage in Sports honorees include Hank Aaron, Cal Ripken Jr., Arthur Ashe, Kerri Strug, Walter Payton and Muhammad Ali.